What Really Happens at the Gold Coast Training Pools?
In the past few weeks, the Gold Coast training pools have been receiving massive waves of discontentment. As we all know, there is a contingent of Chinese swimmers In the Gold Coast training pools who share the lane space with Australia’s Olympic veterans and hopefuls. The challenges that need to be addressed now are the controversies surrounding some of the members of the Chinese contingent.
The contingent includes Chinese swim team’s Sun Yang, an Olympic 1,500 metre swimming champion who was suspended for doping in 2014. Another Chinese swimmer, Ning Zetao, the current 100m freestyle champion, was also banned in 2001 for doping. There are also other younger athletes who appear to perform beyond their age.
The Controversies behind the Chinese Swim Team and the Australian Swimming Community
While we do not want to make claims that they are actually dirty, we cannot take out the fact that some of the Chinese swim team members have been found guilty. And then there are the likes of Grant Hackett who gets tested once every four weeks only to witness Chinese swimmers getting tested once in 8 months.
In addition to that, Swimming Australia’s spokesperson have stated that they have only performed 4 tests from January 2014 to March 2015. Furthermore, ASADA refused to make comments. What adds to the controversy is China, Russia and Brazil’s refusal to undergo testing initiated by FINA. FINA intended to test the top 10 swimming athletes in every nation.
Olympic hopeful, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, has been silenced over his reservations about sharing the pool facilities with the Chinese swimmers. He was the first to speak about the issue that may have triggered the increasing number of Australian swimmers who are unhappy about the situation.
The Give and Take Relationship between Chinese Swimmers and Australian Swimming Coaches
On the bright side, China is a nation that takes pride of its talents. As Australians, we should be honored that they believe in Australia’s capacity of helping them succeed at swimming. They hire and pay large amounts for local swimming coaches which has given the lower coaches a chance to gain experience and greater knowledge.
Australian swimming coaches who want to get their shot of a lifetime would not turn down such opportunity. One of the premier swimming coaches like Denis Cotterell gets paid bonuses of up to a million dollars for coaching gold medal swimmers. For the record, no one is saying that swimmers training in the Gold Coast training pools are participating in doping. Cotterell has no association with Yang since the latter’s suspension in 2013.
What Should be ASADA and Swimmers Australia’s Next Step?
I believe ASADA and Swimming Australia needs to get their ducks in a row and work on a benchmark for testing swimmers in Australia. When a homeowner invites someone his house and takes off his shoes, the guest should do the same. Similarly, Chinese swimmers should comply with the same requirements as our Australian swimmers according to Swimming Australia’s requirements and using ASADA’s testing procedures.